After two years of in-person capacity restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Big Island businesses are banking on customers returning en masse for one of the biggest holiday shopping weekends of the year.
After Thanksgiving is over, retailers in Hawaii and across the country open their doors to offer Black Friday deals, followed by Small Business Saturday the next day.
“People will enjoy a tangible and tactical shopping experience,” said Wendy Laros, President and CEO of the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce.
Laros said business is back to normal, except for many companies suffering from labor shortages.
“Nobody will take anything for granted,” Laros said. “We will all be grateful to welcome customers.”
Mary Smithson, owner of Mary Janes, a women’s boutique at the Keauhou Shopping Center, sees this shopping vacation as an opportunity to give back to the community.
“We’re making our biggest sale ever, and we’re excited about it,” she said.
The boutique, one of 24 stores in the Keauhou Mall, is offering an early bird special from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., offering 30% off merchandise across the store. After that there is a 20% discount on the products.
“We’ve been really pushing on our social media for our locals to shop with us on these big days,” Smithson said.
Noelani Sugata, marketing director of Keauhou Shopping Center, said this is the first time since 2020 that there are no mask-wearing or indoor capacity requirements.
“Retailers can focus on driving traffic to their stores to increase sales and not be under the guise of state/county restrictions,” Sugata said.
Shopkeepers are happy to host personal activities like sip n shops and a free gift with purchase.
The mall will have live music and Santa has come from the North Pole to take photos with Keiki. Registration is required.
Another business at the mall, local bookstore Kona Stories, sponsors Small Business Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and hosts activities for people of all ages.
Sugata said it’s important to shop local because the money made by small businesses stays in the community. By shopping small, consumers help community members thrive in their businesses.